[ ahr-bi-treyt ]
/ 藞蓱r b瑟藢tre瑟t /
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See synonyms for: arbitrate / arbitrated on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), ar路bi路trat路ed, ar路bi路trat路ing.
to decide as arbitrator or arbiter; determine.
to submit to arbitration; settle by arbitration: to arbitrate a dispute.
verb (used without object), ar路bi路trat路ed, ar路bi路trat路ing.
to act as arbitrator or arbiter; decide between opposing or contending parties or sides.
to submit a matter to arbitration.
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Origin of arbitrate

1580鈥90; <Latin arbitr膩tus decided, judged (past participle of arbitr膩r墨), equivalent to arbit(e)rarbiter + -膩tus-ate1


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2023


What does arbitrate mean?

To arbitrate is to act as an arbitrator鈥攁n independent, impartial third party that works to settle a dispute between two opposing sides, often by making a decision that they both agree to.

This process is called arbitration. Arbitrate can also mean to engage in arbitration, as in If we can鈥檛 come to an agreement, we may need to arbitrate.

For a process to be considered arbitration, it must involve an arbitrator, which can be a single person or a team of people.

The terms arbitrate and arbitration are especially used in the context of negotiations between businesses and labor unions. When the two sides can鈥檛 agree and negotiations are unproductive, they may agree or be ordered to arbitrate.

An arbitration process in which the arbitrator鈥檚 decision must be accepted by both parties is sometimes called binding arbitration鈥攎eaning the arbitrator鈥檚 decision is final and legally binding.

The word arbitrate can also be used in a more general way meaning “to determine or settle a dispute,” similar to the word mediate. However, arbitrate often implies that the process is a formal one.

Example: After weeks of negotiations stalled and resulted in an impasse, the two sides agreed to enter arbitration.

Where does arbitrate come from?

The first records of the word arbitrate come from the late 1500s. It ultimately comes from the Latin verb arbitr膩ri, meaning 鈥渢o give judgment.鈥

Arbitrate and arbitration are typically used in a more specific way than mediate and mediation. Mediation generally refers to a process in which an impartial third party (called a mediator) helps parties to settle a dispute or create agreement by acting as an intermediary. This can happen in the workplace or simply among friends, for example.

In contrast, arbitration typically refers to a more formal form of mediation鈥攐ften one that happens in a legal context. In this way, an arbitrator is a kind of mediator and arbitrating is a form of mediating.

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How is arbitrate used in real life?

Arbitrate is most commonly used in the context of labor disputes.

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The word arbitrate commonly means to settle a dispute by formally acting as an impartial third party.

How to use arbitrate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for arbitrate

/ (藞蓱藧b瑟藢tre瑟t) /

to settle or decide (a dispute); achieve a settlement between parties
to submit to or settle by arbitration

Derived forms of arbitrate

arbitrable, adjectivearbitrator, noun

Word Origin for arbitrate

C16: from Latin arbitr膩ri to give judgment; see arbiter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012